Published July 27, 2016
As an associate editor, Surtees will be assigned manuscripts for review under the section of Genome Integrity and Transmission.
“It is a really collaborative process, and all of the reviews are handled by practicing scientists,” she says. “Associate editors are really the ones who make the final decision on a paper.
“We’re encouraged to use our judgment and expertise to make those decisions and not simply take the reviews and pass them on.”
Mark R. O’Brian, PhD, professor and chair of biochemistry, says that Surtees’ appointment “reflects her stature in her field and the high regard in which she is held by her peers.”
“We are fortunate to have someone of Jennifer’s caliber in our department and school,” he adds.
In addition to reviewing manuscripts, Surtees will be charged with keeping an eye out for stories that would be a good fit for the journal.
“The journal is 100 years old and has evolved a lot over time and is really active in promoting novel genetic and genomic research,” she says.
“Genetics is really just trying to understand how the DNA, or genes, and changes in the DNA in a particular organism affect a particular process,” Surtees says. “So, model organisms from bacteria and yeast, fruit flies, mice, C. elegans, zebrafish, humans — whatever is the appropriate model organism — are covered in the scope of the journal.”
Surtees considers it an honor to serve as an associate editor for the journal.
“I think it is an important part of being in the scientific community,” she says. “Genetics is the flagship publication of the Genetics Society of America. In addition to promoting excellent research in genetics, one of the things the GSA is very strong at is providing support and the impetus to generate materials for education about genetics and genetic research and how it affects people.”
That mission ties in greatly with Surtees’ own work as co-director of the Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM) Community of Excellence, part of a university initiative to seek new approaches to global challenges.
The GEM community works to advance the science of genomics and the microbiome and enhance UB’s reputation in genomics to make the university a national model for promoting and increasing genomic literacy.
“One of the most important things we can do through GEM is provide opportunities for people from different perspectives to come together and talk about new ideas and new ways of thinking,” Surtees says.
“The goal is not simply to make everyone a scientist, but to make them more well informed, unafraid of the science and unafraid to be curious and ask questions about these aspects of life.”